AND THE UNIVERSALIZING
Early Quaker theology and political thought, like Quaker worship and ethics, took two forms: the "Lamb's War" radicalism of the 1650s and a more universalistic, tolerant view in the 1670s after a decade of harsh persecution had shown that the Spirit in Friends would survive but not conquer the world. Under pressure Quakers became clearer in doctrine and more creative in politics, as they tested the universality of truth, whereas ethical discipline within the Society of Friends became more rigid through struggles over unity and consistency in moral truth.
For Fox and early Friends doctrines were weapons in "the Lamb's War." Debate flourished because puritan pastors challenged the Quakers on doctrinal rather than ethical issues. Since Friends believed their moral warnings were prophetic messages from God, they had to defend their doctrines as divinely inspired too; nor could Quakers leave any challenge unanswered lest silence might imply defeat. 1 Often they argued with a pastor in his church and then felt driven by interruptions to finish the debate in print. They published their defenses in law courts, like two of Friends' first three tracts: Fox's and James Nayler's Saul's Errand to Damascus and Thomas Aldam's Brief Discovery (both 1653). The Puritan Commonwealth saw the greatest outburst of print before modern times, including sermons, newsheets, and thousands of tracts. Friends published more per head than any other group: before 1660, 540 books and tracts, of which 165 were theological debates; 3,759 before 1700, including 797 debating docrines. Fox's and later William Penn's* were the most numerous, but there were 650 early Quaker authors, including 82 women (though only 8 percent of the women's tracts were doctrinal). 2 Their opponents included the best-trained spiritual leaders of their time: Puritans Richard Baxter and John Owen, Baptists